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A couple of days at Tehachapi Loop

Ever since high school, I’ve had an interest in railways. Over the years, this interest has waned and grown. After the year 2000, my interest had grown to new heights. It was then, when I learned about the Tehachapi Loop, in south-central California. It took about five or six years, before I made it there.

The loop, itself, is a spiral measuring just over a kilometre in distance. However, there are other points of interest to the unreformed trainspotter and railway photographer. This section of track is owned by the Union Pacific. However, BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe) also have trackage rights. The photos below are a selection of what I shot over a period of two days, on September 13 to 14, 2008. They were taken in the Caliente area, and the Loop itself.

The first handful of photographs were taken in the Caliente area.

A stack train approaching Caliente.
A stack train passing through the horseshoe at Caliente.
A stack train descending in to Caliente from Tunnel 2.
A train exiting Tunnel 2, heading toward Caliente.
A manifest (mixed freight) train about to enter Tunnel 2, after having climbed out of Caliente.

The remaining photos were taken at the Loop itself.

A stack train ascending the Loop.
The train’s locomotives exiting the loop, while the rear of the train is still in it.
A manifest train crossing over itself.
A manifest train exiting the Loop.
A stack train exiting the Loop.
A manifest train exiting the Loop.
A manifest train about to enter the Loop, in the opposite direction.

NB: All photographs were taken on publicly accessible roads and tracks.

The Tehachapi Loop is roughly halfway between Bakersfield and Mojave, on California Highway 58. From Los Angeles, take the Interstate 5, and then California Highway 14, north to Mojave, then California Highway 58 to the Keene turnoff (exit 139), and turn right, and then right again. On the left, is a convenient café (Keene Café – open 7AM to 3PM, daily). Continue up the hill, and  you should be able to see the Loop on your left. If you get lost, the owners of the café will be more than happy to provide directions. The café is also regularly frequented by railfans.

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